Harry Potter and the Cursed Childopens on the London stage today, which means the world will soon have an update on what has been going on in the world of Harry Potter since Voldemort’s downfall in Deathly Hallows (and, you know, the occasional Pottermore update).
The play doesn’t officially premiere until July 30th, and J.K. Rowling has encouraged fans to #KeeptheSecrets of the story until fans can see the play or read the book version for themselves, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take part in some fanciful speculation about the identity of the eponymous “cursed child.” After all, if the world of Harry Potter inspires anything, it is acts of imagination. Here are our best cursed child theories…
Albus Severus Potter
Harry and Ginny’s’s son Albus Potter gets name-dropped in The Cursed Child‘s synopsis, so you better believe he’s the frontrunner for the “cursed child” descriptor. In a recent interview, Rowling teased her interest in Harry’s middle child, saying:
The epilogue of the seventh book is a very clear pointer as to where I was interested in going. It’s very obvious from that epilogue that the character I was most interested in was Albus Severus Potter. And you see Scorpius on that platform.
(We’ll get to that Scorpius comment in a second.) It seems like Albus will be a main focal point of the play, but will he be the cursed child in its title? He is the middle child, a notoriously cursed position, and it makes sense that he would get a mention in the title, if he is going to play a role/be compared to his father, Harry Potter. Has the legacy of growing up as the son of the Boy Who Lived been a burden for the young Potter?
In the epilogue, Albus worries that he will be sorted into Slytherin as he waits to board the Hogwarts Express with his parents, younger sister Lily, and older brother James. Harry assures his son that he was named for two headmasters of Hogwarts (Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape), and “one of them was a Slytherin and he was probably the bravest person I knew.”
Does The Cursed Childbegin with Albus being sorted into Slytherin, something that feels like a curse, only to learn the true meaning of Harry’s epilogue statement over the course of the play?
Scorpius is the other character name J.K. drops in the above teaser and, of the two, he arguably has more to prove than his Potter counterpart. Though Draco Malfoy ultimately (kind of) chose the path of good in the battle against Voldemort, it’s no secret that the Malfoy family has a spotty history and, in the character portraits for the play, Scorpius seems uncomfortably aware of that fact.
When The Cursed Childbegins, Scorpius will be one of the next generation of Harry Pottercharacters starting at Hogwarts. A particularly cool theory floating around the Interwebz is that, in a similar “problem” to the one Albus is angsting about in the epilogue, Scorpius Malfoy will be sorted into Gryffindor. You can see how this might be awkward for a Malfoy, and bring about a belief that he is, in fact, cursed.
In a recent tweet from Rowling captioned “my girl,” the author shared a shot of herself with Cherelle Skeete, aka the actress playing Rose Granger-Weasley, Ron and Hermione’s undoubtedly brilliant kid. Like Albus and Scorpius, Rose is just starting Hogwarts. Firstly, this picture is adorable. Secondly, could Rowling be giving us insight into the prominence of Rose’s role… perhaps as the cursed child?
It would be cool if the most kid character in the play was a girl, even if she is cursed. And, if any Hogwarts first year can figure out how to cure a pesky curse, it’s going to be the offspring of Hermione Granger.
Let’s face it: Harry Potter is more or less cursed. His parents died when he was a baby, he spent many of his formative years in a cupboard, and his post-cupboard schoolyears were littered with the corpses of his loved ones. Sure, he eventually defeated the Dark Lord, but it wasn’t exactly a rosy upbringing. Could Harry be the cursed child, doomed to always be defined by the boy he was rather than the man he has grown into? It’s thematically-rich, you have to admit.
Furthermore, the synopsis’ mention that “past and present fuse ominously” could certainly point towards some time travel shenanigans. We’ve seen time travel in the Harry Potter universe before. Could someone be going after Harry by targeting a younger version of himself? It would be a big change for the Harry Potter universe, which has previously only seem short-term time travel e.g. Hermione’s Time-Turner (and messing with the timeline always gets, well, messy), but it’s exactly the kind of ambitious plot The Cursed Childmight try to pull off.
On the other hand, the title Harry Potter and the Cursed Childbecomes ridiculously redundant if Harry Potter is, in fact, the cursed child. You might as well call the play Harry Potter and the Harry Potter. Unless the Boy Who Lived is having some kind of schitzophrenic break, then he probably isn’t the cursed child. Probably… Unless he is.
Speaking of former boy wizards with a burdensome legacy on their shoulders, judging by that glare in the above character portrait, Draco Malfoy still has something to prove to the wizarding world. Draco is a fan-favorite character from the books, and has one of the most compelling and unpredictable arcs of the entire series. Could he be the cursed child mentioned in the play’s title? Like Harry, it seems awkward for an adult wizard to be referred to in this way, but there’s something gratifyingly poetic about referring to the inner, cursed child hidden just beneath the surface of Draco Malfoy’s scowly exterior.
James, Lily, or Hugo
The other Potter and Weasley children got some narrative time in The Deathly Hallowsepilogue, but don’t play large enough roles in the play to warrant their own character portraits. Unless The Cursed Childis trying to throw us off, neither James, nor Hugo, nor Lily is probably the cursed child in question, but, I’m throwing in a sleeper shout-out for both Lily Potter and Hugo Granger-Weasley, who are both too young to go to Hogwarts and will, therefore, presumably be hanging out with aurors Ron and Harry, just waiting to get hit by a rogue curse from a bitter wizard criminal.
Like our boy Harry, Teddy Lupin lost both of his parents when he was just a wee baby to You-Know-Who’s shenanigans. (R.I.P., Remus and Tonks.) I’m guessing he feels pretty darn cursed about it. Though Harry’s godson seems to be doing pretty well in the epilogue and we haven’t heard any mention of him in relation to the play, he would be a cool, relevant character to come back into play in this sequel — and one I, personally, would like to spend some time checking back in with.
Someone we haven’t met yet.
There’s a good chance that all of this speculation is for nought, and the cursed child is a character we haven’t met yet. Could he or she (he, if the play graphic shown above is anything to go by) be a poor child Harry and Ron encounter through their work at the Ministry of Magic? Could the cursed child be the most literal reference to ever be referenced? Going by previous Harry Potter titles like “the Half-Blood Prince,” you bet.
We are all the cursed child.
Perhaps the “cursed child” in the title is not so much a specific character as a larger theme. Yeah, this seems a bit esoteric for a theatrical production that is at least partially aimed at children, but one can never doubt the power of a theme. Is the “cursed child” in question less about a specific child and the magical curse placed upon them and more about the less tangible, universal affliction of coming of age? If you’ve seen any of writer Jack Thorne’s other work, then this take doesn’t seem completely out of the question.
In a recent interview, The Cursed Childdirector John Tiffany said of the Harry Potter world: “When you’re growing up it’s very easy to feel lonely and insecure. And what Jo managed to capture, I think, was a world which made those people feel less lonely.” Perhaps the cursed child is all of us.